The cider boom shows no sign of slowing despite last year's washout weather.

The category grew 27% to £355m in the year to 20 April while lager dropped 5.3% and stout fell 18%, according to TNS figures seen by The Grocer. Ale was the only other sector in the beer and cider category to post a rise over the same period albeit at a rather more modest 0.7%.

The overall category, remained fairly flat, losing a mere 0.7% in value to just under £2.2bn. This was despite the category losing 490,000 shoppers in the past 12 months, with those still buying paying less and prices down 2.9%.

With a similarly soggy summer expected this year and the failure of the home nations to qualify for Euro 2008, the message is that brewers must look beyond sunshine and sport.

Focus On Beer & Cider p39